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Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation leaders gathered with members of the Kenwood community in July 2023 to hold a topping-out ceremony in celebration of the placement of the final steel beam for the future state-of-the-art Cherokee Nation Woody Hair Community Center being constructed in Kenwood, Oklahoma. Photo: Anadisgoi / Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation’s $1.2 Billion Investment in Community Infrastructure
Monday, May 20, 2024
Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation is large and growing, with more than 460,000 citizens making us the largest tribe in America. The hundreds of thousands of Cherokees of all ages deserve world-class facilities serving our health, education, safety, and community life and culture. That’s why we have undertaken the largest single capital investment in our history, with almost $1.2 billion allocated to more than 60 construction projects.

These investments reach every corner of the 7,000-square-mile Cherokee Nation Reservation in northeast Oklahoma. Projects span from community centers to health care facilities and from Head Start centers to an expanded headquarters complex. Altogether, they exemplify Deputy Chief Bryan Warner’s and my dedication to building a stronger and more accessible Cherokee Nation.

I am especially proud of our investments in rural communities across the reservation. Places like Marble City and Kenwood have often been overlooked, but they are essential centers where the Cherokee language flourishes and so many families live by core Cherokee values.

This is not merely about infrastructure; it is about providing our citizens with the means to thrive in their hometowns. From the state-of-the-art Head Start facilities in Kenwood, featuring heated floors for our youngest learners, to the Edna Holland Wellness Center in Stilwell with its indoor walking track, we are creating spaces that foster a sense of belonging and pride.

The comprehensive investments show our holistic approach: $551.1 million in health; $194.4 million in education; $124.2 million in government infrastructure; $83.4 million in wellness; $76.5 million in human services; $67.8 million in community projects; $63.2 million in language initiatives; $10 million in career services; $3.1 million in infrastructure; and $2.7 million in law enforcement.

These numbers are not just figures; they represent our commitment to improving every aspect of life for our Cherokee people.

One of the cornerstones of this transformation is our new hospital in Tahlequah, which is under construction now, and the forthcoming clinic in Salina. Both these new sites will provide crucial health services and allow citizens to stay closer to home and family when they need care.

We are also adding a public safety building, a 61,500-square-foot hub for our emergency operations. The facility will house over 90 employees and include a training center for the first responders who help keep our communities safe.

Our capital investments also grow the local economy and provide excellent work opportunities for our citizens. Even when wedemolish outdated structures, like the old hotel on the W.W. Keeler Tribal Campus, we are making room for modern facilities that will better serve future generations.

Cherokee Nation is a leader for Indian Country and the best in model in Oklahoma for how a government can uplift its citizens. We are not only building physical structures but creating a connected and empowered citizenry. Our vision is clear: to create an environment where Cherokee citizens can live, work, play, and thrive throughout our reservation for many generations to come.

Chuck Hoskin Jr
Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the 18th elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe in the United States. He is only the second elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from Vinita, the first being Thomas Buffington, who served from 1899-1903. Prior to being elected Principal Chief, Hoskin served as the tribe’s Secretary of State. He also formerly served as a member of the Council of the Cherokee Nation, representing District 11 for six years.